Poll: Amer­i­cans feel blessed at holidays — and a bit stressed

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - By Amy Forliti

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Wade Hol­comb has a lot to be grate­ful for this year. In ad­di­tion to grad­u­at­ing col­lege and get­ting a job, he also has a beau­ti­ful 4month-old girl — who will be cel­e­brat­ing her first Christ­mas with her dad clearly wrapped around her tiny fingers.

“It’s dif­fer­ent, hav­ing a baby. It’s some­thing to be re­ally grate­ful for and she just makes me the hap­pi­est per­son in the world,” said Hol­comb, 22, of Swains­boro, Ge­or­gia. “She’s lit­er­ally the best thing ever.”

Hol­comb is among the 7 of 10 Amer­i­cans who say “grate­ful” de­scribes them ex­tremely well or very well over the holidays, ac­cord­ing to a new poll from The As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search. Roughly an­other 2 in 10 said it de­scribes them mod­er­ately well.

While pos­i­tive feel­ings are dom­i­nant, feel­ings of fes­tiv­ity and grat­i­tude are ac­com­pa­nied by stress or sad­ness for many Amer­i­cans. About 3 in 10 say “stressed” de­scribes them ex­tremely well or very well in De­cem­ber, and about an­other 4 in 10 say it de­scribes them mod­er­ately well.

About 2 in 10 say they feel very lonely or sad dur­ing the holidays, with about an­other 2 in 10 say­ing they feel mod­er­ately lonely or sad.

For those who feel grate­ful, be­ing in good health and be­ing sur­rounded by lov­ing fam­ily mem­bers are top of mind. While Hol­comb is thank­ful for the new life in his fam­ily, 76-year-old Steve Tu­tun­jian of San Diego is grate­ful to be alive at all.

Tu­tun­jian has been hos­pi­tal­ized three times in re­cent months for breath­ing is­sues, in­clud­ing a re­cent emer­gency trip to in­ten­sive care. That’s where he was when he re­sponded to the AP-NORC poll.

“For some godly rea­son, I am still here,” he said. “Just rec­og­niz­ing you are alive, healthy and on the mend as I am — you can’t help but be grate­ful.”

Tu­tun­jian also de­scribed him­self as mod­er­ately stressed — be­cause he’s fallen be­hind in hol­i­day plan­ning — and sad. Like oth­ers who spoke to the AP, he’s miss­ing a loved one around the holidays. Tu­tun­jian, a re­tired naval com­man­der, lost a son in 2009 to a com­bi­na­tion of a pre­scrip­tion over­dose and a bad re­ac­tion to mul­ti­ple med­i­ca­tions af­ter out­pa­tient eye surgery.

“You never for­get that loss and empti­ness in your heart, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing those times you pre­vi­ously cel­e­brated with your loved ones. So it adds some sad­ness to it,” he said of his son, who was also in the Navy. “On the other side, we re­flect on the many good times we’ve had to­gether. It doesn’t de­stroy the hol­i­day spirit for us. It brings it home.”

The poll also found that about 6 in 10 Amer­i­cans say they have fam­ily tra­di­tions they are look­ing for­ward to this year, while just about 1 in 10 say they have some they are dread­ing.

Melvin Ram­saran, 35, of Brook­lyn, said there is one fam­ily tra­di­tion he dreads ev­ery year — that post­din­ner pe­riod when ev­ery­one is over­stuffed, tired and has to sit around and lis­ten to ex­cru­ci­at­ingly long fam­ily speeches.

So this year, he said, he’s go­ing to stay home on his couch.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,053 adults was con­ducted Dec. 5-9. The mar­gin of sam­pling er­ror is plus or minus 4 per­cent­age points.

WASH­ING­TON — An ill­ness re­sis­tant to mul­ti­ple drugs that’s hit 13 states and led to four hos­pi­tal­iza­tions is prob­a­bly spread by the cutest of cul­prits, health of­fi­cials say.

The ev­i­dence points to pup­pies.

Thirty peo­ple have re­ported in­fec­tions as of last week, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, which says the out­break seems to stem mostly from dogs pur­chased at pet shops. About 70% of those sick­ened re­ported con­tact with a pet store puppy.

No sin­gle sup­plier has been con­nected to cases of the ill­ness, which of­ten in­volves bloody di­ar­rhea and can be trans­mit­ted through an­i­mal fe­ces.

But in­ves­ti­ga­tions link 12 peo­ple af­fected to Pet­land, a na­tional chain im­pli­cated in a pre­vi­ous spate of puppy-re­lated ill­ness in­volv­ing the same kind of bac­te­ria, Campy­lobac­ter. Five of those 12 peo­ple were Pet­land em­ploy­ees, the CDC said.

Ohio-based Pet­land, which lists about 80 lo­ca­tions across the coun­try, said in a state­ment that it has worked since the last out­break to put in place all rec­om­men­da­tions from fed­eral and state an­i­mal and pub­lic health of­fi­cials.

Those pro­to­cols, the com­pany said, in­clude manda­tory san­i­tary train­ing for all em­ploy­ees, prom­i­nent sig­nage and mul­ti­ple san­i­ta­tion sta­tions in stores and other mea­sures to ed­u­cate staff and cus­tomers. Pet­land says it has also changed “an­i­mal hus­bandry and san­i­ta­tion prac­tices” and asked its vet­eri­nar­i­ans to use mi­crobe-tar­get­ing sub­stances ju­di­ciously, amid con­cerns about drug re­sis­tance.

“Pet­land takes the health and wel­fare of our em­ploy­ees, our cus­tomers and our pets very se­ri­ously,” the com­pany said, not­ing that more than a third of re­ported cases in the new out­break in­volve peo­ple in states where Pet­land has no stores.

Fed­eral health of­fi­cials said last year that pup­pies sold through Pet­land, which has drawn crit­ics for its use of com­mer­cial breed­ers, were a likely source of the out­break that sick­ened 113 peo­ple across 17 states and re­sulted in 23 hos­pi­tal­iza­tions.

The United States sees about 1.5 mil­lion Campy­lobac­ter cases ev­ery year. The ill­ness of­ten comes from eat­ing raw or un­der­cooked poul­try or some­thing it made con­tact with — but it can also spread through a range of other foods, un­treated wa­ter and an­i­mals, the CDC states.

In­fec­tion symp­toms for hu­mans, be­yond di­ar­rhea, in­clude fever and stom­ach cramps two to five days af­ter ex­po­sure, ac­cord­ing to the CDC, which says most peo­ple re­cover in a week with­out an­tibi­otics. But peo­ple who fall very ill or have se­ri­ously weak­ened im­mune sys­tems may need those drugs, it says.

Anal­y­sis shows that the lat­est puppy-linked in­fec­tions in­volve ge­net­i­cally re­lated bac­te­ria, sug­gest­ing a com­mon source of in­fec­tion, the CDC said. It’s also ge­net­i­cally re­lated to the multi-drug re­sis­tant bac­te­ria of the old out­break, which be­gan in 2016 and lasted into 2018.

The newer ill­nesses ran from Jan. 6 to Nov. 10 of this year, the CDC says. Those sick­ened are as young as eight months and as old as 70 years, with a me­dian age of 34.

The CDC is not aware of any deaths, though it notes that some ill­nesses may not be re­ported yet.

Fed­eral of­fi­cials are ad­vis­ing peo­ple to wash their hands af­ter touch­ing their dog, han­dling the an­i­mal’s food or clean­ing up af­ter them. They warned against let­ting dogs lick peo­ples’ mouths, faces or open wounds.

Pet own­ers should also get a health exam for their dog within days of bring­ing them home, the CDC said. And any­one who re­al­ized their dog is sick soon af­ter pur­chase or adop­tion should go to a vet­eri­nar­ian, no­tify the group they got their pet from and clean places their pet oc­cu­pied with wa­ter and bleach.

Dogs may have fallen ill if they seem lethar­gic, aren’t eat­ing, have di­ar­rhea or breathe ab­nor­mally, the agency said. But an­i­mals can also ap­pear healthy and clean while car­ry­ing the germs mak­ing peo­ple sick, it em­pha­sized.

STEPHANIE KEITH/GETTY

Peo­ple carry shop­ping bags Dec. 20 in New York City. A poll shows that while Amer­i­cans are mostly grate­ful around the holidays, stress and sad­ness also ac­com­pany fes­tiv­i­ties.

VALERIJ MI­LANOVIC/DREAM­TIME

The ill­nesses are from Jan. 6 to Nov. 10, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

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